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    Naval Cultures of the Flanaess: Northern Raiders
    Posted on Mon, July 28, 2008 by Dongul
    Crag writes "Northern Raiders: “The Northern Seas know no favorites; survival is for the strong and cunning alone.” – Jarl Adalsteinn

    Naval Cultures of the Flanaess
    Northern Raiders

    By Crag

    Northern Raiders: “The Northern Seas know no favorites; survival is for the strong and cunning alone.” – Jarl Adalsteinn

    The Flanaess has evolved into a cultural melting pot of several diverse peoples; this diversity has stimulated various cultural approaches regarding the value of the sea and vessels required to exploit it. Cultural beliefs of the sea within a society have a profound effect regarding its fleet composition and the military doctrine that is developed to achieve the desired goals within the society.

    Naval Doctrine:
    The suloise arrived in the Flanaess as refugees fleeing an ancient cataclysm. Some suloise settled in the harsh Thillonrian Peninsula and a naval philosophy was soon established. Due to the conditions of the northern sea; the northern suloise designed vessels suited for the hostile environment and developed a naval tradition of raiding. These northern suloise have seafaring skills especially suited to the ice filled northern seas. Surprise is deemed essential to their success; open sea naval combat is to be avoided whenever possible, unless a foe can be ambushed. When combat can not be avoided, the northern suloise seek to board enemy vessels as soon as possible. Once committed to battle these raiders fight with a determined almost contemptuous courage. The northern philosophy does have flaws; raiders are hard to convince of the need for a united cohesive naval force. Many of the northern suloise raiders remain fiercely individualistic and are highly suspicious of perceived attempts to curtail their authority. Since their ships are designed primarily for raiding, the northern suloise are at a distinct disadvantage when confronted with the larger more heavily armed southern fleets. Fortunately the southern fleets are significantly slower and have shown little desire to pursue the suloise into the far north. The greater speed of their northern ships and the reluctance of their southern adversaries to provoke a naval engagement in the northern seas ensure the northern suloise retain the naval initiative. Some notable naval fleets that adhere to this doctrine are: Frost Barbarians, Ice Barbarians and Snow Barbarians.

    Northern Barbarian Suel (Concealment & Crew Enhancement)
    Drakkar (Warship)
    Knarr (Merchant)
    Longship (Raider)

    - On an icy windswept cliff; a worried father talks to his son –

    Heed me well, my son…
    The northern sun provides little warmth, for our people to survive and prosper; we must journey beyond these shores. The people of the south name us barbarians but have they felt the bitter cold or heard the pitiful pleas of a hungry child. Our enemies do not understand that shame and necessity drive us; not bloody slaughter. I suppose it would change little, if they did. You, my son, are now of age and will soon become a companion aboard a ship; be honourable and fight well. I have watched you grow; have seen your eyes devour the ships as they leave shore headed to distant lands. Soon you will seek a captain, our vessels sail the harsh northern seas; choose wisely and riches will be yours; choose poorly and I will never see you again.

    The pride of our people are Drakkar, these magnificent ships are reserved for Kings, Jarls and Noble Heroes; how your eyes shine, my son. Dream of Drakkar do you; one must earn the right to serve aboard a Drakkar. Your ambition does you credit, for the Drakkar is truly a fine vessel and any warrior who serves on one, has proven himself a fierce and loyal companion. Our largest fleets are always under the command of Drakkar. Great prestige and glory awaits the warrior that serves aboard them; wealth flows into them as no other vessel for the shares given the crew are always the fattest. However with great honor comes great responsibility; the captain of a Drakkar, who does not soon find profit and victory is deemed unworthy of commanding such a fine ship – Drakkar know their true captains.

    Though skalds rarely sing of Knarr, trade should not be scorned; in my youth, I served many seasons aboard a trade ship and the coin spends the same. It is Knarr that transports our people to the new colonies and sails to distant markets to buy the goods needed to help our people survive. Many Knarr find the fish, shellfish and seaweed that feed much of the nation. It is Knarr which provide a means of communication for our people when Vatun howls in frustration and snow closes the mountain passes. Do not feel slighted son, if the captain of a Knarr asks you to serve.

    Many captains sail Longships to explore the northern sea and raid our enemies. Swift and silent, longships sail up rivers and beach on coastlines while our foes must search for a port. Surprise is our ally; fierce warriors are ashore before an alarm sounds or a defense can be mounted. Our foes often arrive to find a smoking ruin where once a settlement thrived. Many hot blooded young warriors’ dream of raiding and the opportunity for wealth is great but a raider must have cunning as well as brawn, my son.

    Our priests and warrior skalds seek the favour of the northern deities; they have strengthened the arm of many a faithful warrior seated at his assigned oar. Lest you provoke their wrath, they summon sea mists to conceal a ship until it is upon its prey or allow a victorious ship to return to the north. Success and survival often has much to do with the piety of a warrior rather then the brawn of his arm alone.

    I know your thoughts, given these fine ships and the faith of our people; we should simply take land that basks in the sunshine. It has been tried to our sorrow; we are people of the north until the captive ice father is released. Be not crestfallen; many ships succeed in their tasks and return heavily laden with plunder. A raider desires not conflict but if battle must be, a good captain wishes it to be short and sharp; plunder is sought before even glory. Listen not to southern jeers of cowardice, for many cunning captains have heard them become howls of dismay once the arrogant southerners have been lured to the bitter northern seas. For none know the northern perils as we do. The cold currents and crushing ice; do much of the slaughter for us, the ravenous northern sea creatures’ feast well upon such southern fools.

    Be stalwart and Xerbo will provide riches."
     
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